Big day in Rapelje

Thursday, April 22, 2021
Article Image Alt Text

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen was armed with condiments as she talked with and garnished hotdogs for Rapelje students Jace Henley, Coy Yorke, Elijah Dobrinski, Malachi Eisenbraun and Isaac Broyles this past Monday. (SCN photo by Emily Schabacker)

RAPELJE — A presentation by RDO Equipment in drone flight and data analysis was the winning prize of three Rapelje students for their innovative idea in the 2021 Prospects business competition.

“Pipeline Tech” was the brainchild of Jacki Keating’s business students Lily Herzog, Kylee Bryant and Matthew Brubaker for the Montana Chamber Foundation’s business competition, which had 93 entries including 171 students. The pitch focused on utilizing drones to fly over pipelines for pressure monitoring and leak detection.

RDO Equipment sponsored the drones and data category in “The Prospects” competition, and as the prize for the students’ ingenuity, two drones were brought out to fly over Rapelje. A presentation of the data analysis followed.

The community was invited to the full day event last Monday. County commissioners, Rapelje students, students from Colstrip and Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen were all in attendance.

The presentation demonstrated how data collected from drone flight could improve agriculture, construction and energy industry operations.

Arntzen told the News the level of engagement and multi-generational learning that was taking place at the event was remarkable. She pointed towards the kindergarten class and then to the farmers and the Army National Guard recruiters that all sat quietly while the data presentation continued.

“This is an opportunity for a rural community to embrace students and link the community to schools. We do that very well in rural Montana,” Arntzen said. “The community learning and student learning taking place is incredible.”

She added that drone technology will add to Montana’s participation on the national and world stage, and the opportunities in development make it a good career option for students after high school.

Arntzen congratulated the students during a speech for the awards ceremony.

“You’ve made me proud. You’ve made your teachers proud. You’ve made your community proud,” Arntzen said. “It’s a win for you as kids. It’s a win for your future. It’s a win for your school. It’s a win for your county. And it’s a win for Montana.”

Governor Greg Gianforte also congratulated the students in a video message.

“As the next generation of Montana entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders, you represent out state’s future and its unbridled potential,” Gianforte said. “You will make your communities stronger and create opportunities for others.”